Small businesses are shockingly prone to security breaches. Many people assume that major corporations are the most likely to suffer from cybersecurity disasters. However, many attackers actually focus on small businesses because they are so much more vulnerable. According to the 2016 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, 43 percent of phishing campaigns target small businesses.
Sadly, many small companies lack the resources needed to bounce back from the devastation that naturally follows security breaches. Some never recover and are forced to close up shop. Therefore, a proactive approach to cybersecurity is necessary. By implementing the following IT solutions, it may be possible for today’s small businesses to avoid the most common types of attacks.
1. Secure Firewalls
A quality firewall can act as an effective shield between key devices and internet-based threats such as malware. This should form the basis of any organization’s security protocol. Firewalls closely monitor information exchanged between devices and various servers to ensure that no malicious packets of data get through.
While many operating systems come equipped with basic firewalls, these aren’t always sufficient to prevent the array of threats facing today’s small businesses. When in doubt, it’s best to procure the strongest, most secure business firewall available. Next-generation firewalls (NGFW) are especially worth considering, as they offer enhanced intrusion detection and protection.
2. Managed Network Switches
IT network switches are connected to home routers. They behave a lot like USB hubs but are primarily used for networks. Although they aren’t necessarily required for everyday users in private homes, these devices are valuable for small businesses. Many small companies possess several wired devices in a single location – and as a result, will likely require additional Ethernet ports.
Managed switches add embedded security to encrypt network communications. This specific type of network switch provides extensive control over the flow of traffic. For example, access control lists (ACLs) can be employed to restrict unauthorized users from accessing specific network areas. Networks can also be segmented via virtual local area networks (VLANs).
3. Excellent Hardware
Device hardware strongly influences the overall security of your system, and multiple options are available that can help prevent key threats. Perhaps most importantly, you need a secure business router. After all, in the modern workforce, routers provide strong connections not only for computers but also for phones, tablets, and more. These various devices can easily be exploited if they are connected to less-than-secure routers.
A high-quality modem is just as important as an excellent router, as it’s responsible for establishing and sustaining a strong internet connection. Security-conscious businesses should maintain modems and routers as completely separate devices, rather than relying on gateway products to serve both functions.
4. Business Antivirus Software
There’s no substitute for quality hardware, but software is just as critical. Antivirus software acts as a digital guard, seeking out and warning users of potential threats. These threats change constantly, and advanced software is required to identify top risks and respond as quickly and effectively as possible.
In addition to protecting small businesses from viruses, strong software can stand guard against other common threats, including trojans, malware, spam, and phishing attacks. Keep in mind that the basic antivirus software that commonly protects personal users may not prove sufficient in a business setting.
5. Cybersecurity Patch Management
Today’s attackers adapt their approach quickly and remaining up-to-date on these developments can prove tricky. Unfortunately, even the most effective software may not be equipped to keep threats at bay permanently. Over time, new and dangerous vulnerabilities may emerge. If not addressed promptly, these issues could lead to devastating security breaches.
Patch management is necessary to ensure that small business security protocol remains just as effective over time as when it was initially implemented. Vulnerabilities must be detected and patched as quickly as possible to ensure sustained security. Many of the most recent cyberattacks to hit headlines (including the Equifax breach) ultimately involved failures in patch management. Small business owners would be wise to take such threats seriously.
6. Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) Services
Remote monitoring and management (RMM) is a valuable option for small businesses struggling to maintain a comprehensive security protocol. Under this strategic approach, managed IT service providers can proactively monitor a variety of networks and devices to ensure that these systems remain as up-to-date and secure as possible.
In addition to monitoring systems for potential attacks, RMM programs can remotely install software and administer patches as necessary to mitigate detected threats. This can lift a significant burden from the shoulders of stressed business owners, granting them the opportunity to shift their focus to other urgent matters.
Implement a Proactive IT Approach for Your Small Business
From remote managed monitoring to high-quality hardware, a variety of security solutions can be employed to reduce the risk of small business breaches significantly. A proactive approach is always worth taking, especially when protecting vulnerable small businesses.
As you strive to secure your company, look to the experts at NerdsToGo for top IT services. Our certified Nerds provide high-quality IT services designed to enhance your small business operations. We also offer a variety of other computer solutions. Contact us today to learn more about our business data backup, computer repair, and remote monitoring services.